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Dave Crowe

Thanks for the comments folks. All very kind. And thanks for sharing the Wimpy song. I’d never heard of that before.

Time for more aircraft I reckon. This time staying with the RAF but moving onto fighters.

The Aircraft of NewZealand hurricane ace “Cobber” Kain who fought in the battle of France and became one of the first aces of the war. He died pulling stunts on take-off and the wreckage of his plane was left as a warning to other young pilots not to showboat.

These are the Hurricanes of 245 Squadron who were stationed at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland (not far from where I live) The Aircraft Marked DX-? is that of Squadron Leader J. W. C. Simpson.

The Spitfire of Brendan “Spitfire Paddy” Finucane. An Irishman flying in the RAF who, before his death in 1942 was believed to have shot down as many as 32 enemy aircraft.

Adolph “Sailor” Malan, South African Spitfire ace and one of the highest scoring pilots to have served wholly with Fighter Command during WWII.

These are a pair of Spitfires of 41 Squadron who saw action over Dunkirk, in the Battle of Britain and on into the invasion of German occupied Europe when they were stationed on the continent until the end of the war.

A Beaufighter of 252 Squadron Coastal Command also stationed at Aldergrove.
The air ministry needed an escort fighter to accompany longer range night bombings and the Beaufighter was the result. Its development reads like something out of the A-team where a team of crack improvisers borrow parts from here there and everywhere and botch them together in a shed only to emerge (in this case only 8 short months later) with a fully formed radar equipped night fighter. It also had great success as a torpedo bomber (dubbed the Torbeau) taking out German U-boats. Australian Beaufighters became the scourge of many a Japanese merchant and naval ship earning them the name “the Whispering Death”

The hapless Boulton Paul Defiant- practically obsolete from inception and pressed into desperate service during the Battle of Britain. Trouble was it was designed as an intercept fighter for combating unescorted bombers (German airfields being too far away for single engine fighters to reach England.) However that was not to be the case and German fighters flying from captured French airfields made short work of them. It eventually found a more suitable role as a night fighter but with only limited success. It wasn’t much faster than most of the bombers it was chasing and with only four 7.7mm Browning MG’s in a turret (no forward facing guns and none pointing down) they could only attack from below and without much of a punch. Churchill had initially wanted as many squadrons of these as Hurricanes and Spitfires but Dowding was thankfully unconvinced.

Three Fairey Fulmars. These were the first carrier-borne aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm that had any real success against enemy aircraft. Designed primarily for reconnaissance and long range sea patrol they weren’t as fast and manoeuvrable as their pilots might have liked but they had some success against Italian fighters in the Mediterranean none the less.

And the last of my RAF fighters so far are these two Curtis P-40 Tomahawks. 112 Squadron were one of the first units to field the type in July 1941. The P-40 didn’t perform well at high altitudes but much of the action in the North African theatre happened closer to the ground so it was still able to tangle with the best the Germans and Italians had to offer.

The 112th adopted the “shark’s mouth” motif for their P-40s and it soon became a P-40 standard, famously also adopted by the Flying Tigers in Burma. Although it was first used by some Bf-110 pilots earlier in the war.

Thanks again for looking folks. Do pitch in with corrections or comments. All info and debate is welcome.